“Once upon a time there was a man who looked upon Christmas as a lot of humbug. He was a kind and decent person, upright in all his dealings with other men. But he didn’t believe all that stuff about Incarnation which churches proclaim at Christmas. “I am truly sorry to distress you,” he told his wife, who was a faithful churchgoer. “But I simply cannot understand this claim that God becomes man. It doesn’t make any sense to me.” On Christmas Eve his wife and children went to church for the midnight service. He declined to accompany them. “I’d feel like a hypocrite,” he explained. “I’d rather stay at home. But I’ll wait up for you.”
The weather was bad that night. Shortly after his family drove away in the car, there was a heavy snow storm. He went on to read his newspaper. A few minutes later he was startled by a thudding sound. It was quickly followed by another, then another. He found through the window a flock of birds huddled miserably in the storm. They had been caught in the storm and in a desperate search for shelter had tried to fly through his window. “I can’t let these poor creatures lie there and freeze,” he thought. “But how can I help them?” Then he remembered the barn where the children’s pony was stabled. It would provide a warm shelter.
He put on his coat and tramped through the deepening snow to the barn. He opened the door wide and turned on a light. But the birds didn’t come in. “Food will attract them in,” he thought. So he hurried back to the house for bread crumbs, which he sprinkled on the snow to make a trail into the barn. To his dismay, the birds ignored the bread crumbs and continued to flop around helplessly in the snow. He tried shooing them into the barn by walking around and waving his arms. They scattered in every direction – except into the warm lighted barn.
“They find me a strange and terrifying creature,” he said to himself, “and I can’t seem to think of any way to let them know they can trust me. If only I could be a bird myself for a few minutes, perhaps I could lead them to safety. . . .”
Just at that moment the church bells began to ring. He stood silent for a while, listening to the bells pealing the glad tidings of Christmas. Then he sank to his knees in the snow. “Now I do understand,” he whispered. “Now I see why You had to do it.” That was A Christmas Parable written by Louis Cassels many years ago, one of the religion editors of United Press International and is a simple but beautiful way to explain the mystery of Christmas. God had to become one of us to make us understand His unconditional saving love. And the truth is: He is so fond of us.
God is very fond of us, so fond of us that He made it possible for us to no longer be imprisoned in our sins or condemned to eternal death. Therefore, He sent us His Only Son, Jesus, as our Savior, to free us from the permanence of sin and death. God is so fond of us that He sent His only Son Jesus to be our Light in darkness, our Companion on the journey of life, He sent Jesus to remain among us, truly Emmanuel, a name which means “God-is-with-us!”
The Christmas readings repeatedly tell us how fond of us is God! “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. … For a child is born to us, a son is given us; … They name Him … Prince of Peace. … Do not be afraid!; … I proclaim to you good news of great joy … today a savior has been born for you who is the Christ and Lord …
You and I need to remember that our God is very fond of us, that He, in fact, loves us so dearly. We can become too easily distracted by earthly realities surrounding us — not that all of them are evil, though some are, but even the best of them are limited, temporary, and incomplete. We can too easily forget God’s love and, in fact, we can too easily ignore His love or even reject it.
This Christmas, right now, God is speaking to the heart of each one of us! Whether we have been regular and faithful in taking part in weekly Eucharist, in praying daily and in witnessing for Him every day or whether we have not been to Mass since last Christmas or Easter, prayed infrequently and witnessed sporadically, God is saying to each of us: “I love you! How fond I am of you! I sent you my best gift: my only Son to be your Redeemer, Savior, Companion, Lord! Will you my son, daughter make room for My Son to enter and allow Him to remain within you, so that His love can be reflected through you to others?”
May you have the gladness of Christmas which is hope;
The spirit of Christmas which is peace;
The heart of Christmas which is love.